Lenny Ravich
It’s Performance Time

It’s Performance Time

March 18, 2023

Hi All: It’s me again, Lenny Ravich, author of the bestselling book “Everlasting Optimism” and Humorous, Inspirational Speaker in London.

My parents came to the USA from Russia before The Great Depression. As a child, whenever I wanted to buy something my mother would say in Yiddish, “Daft Nisht. Tzee Fil” which translated means, “You don’t need it. It’s too expensive.” She would also exclaim, “Eat your sandwich over the sink so crumbs won’t drop on the floor,” adding “and take that shirt off before you eat. I like that shirt and you always drop food all over it.” Then I got married and my wife keeps saying the exact same things. Did I marry my mother, or what?

So let’s talk about your prepared performance. Again, I can’t teach you how to present. I can only tell you how I do it and you take it from there.

Show Time

 I’m backstage ready to go on. I take three deep breaths and say, as I inhale, “I’m here” and on the exhale. “Now.” I’m “here, now” grounds me to the present moment and I begin to notice what I’m feeling. “Anxiety”? No. Let’s change that to “excitement”. I’m excited to be here now. I ask God, “Are you with me?” She answers, “Always. Just get out of the way and let ME take over” as the sponsor reads the very short introduction that I had mailed her previously. “…And Lenny is here today to offer us the choice to dance life or to drag it. Let’s have a nice round of applause….”

On Stage

So now I’m out there and take a few moments to look over the crowd, take another deep breath and fall in love with all the faces looking up at me. Yes, you read that correctly. I fall purposely in love. There’s a good chance they will feel it and respond in kind.

Reality is Projection

It wasn’t always like that. Some psychologist once said, “Everything is projection.” So even if my audience is having a great time, my eyes inevitably fall and stay on the ones who seem not to be entertained or pleased. (Is that my “I’m not good enough” jingle playing its familiar tune?) But one day I learned my lesson.  

It was an afternoon performance for retired doctors and most were amused, laughing and learning when I noticed this one guy sitting with his arms and legs crossed and had a look on his face that would make a lemon cringe with envy. I was visibly upset. He came back stage with a gaze that could kill a vampire. I waited for the “Will Smith” slap across my face, but instead he just looked me straight in the eye and mumbled, “I enjoyed your talk very much. Thank you.” Thanks to YOU, sir wherever you may be. True: Not everyone has to love me. What I project I inject.

Back at the Ranch

“Nice to be here in London again. How are you? This July I hope to celebrate my 87th birthday. (Applause) Thanks. It’s nice to get applause just for staying alive.” (Laughter) “This last December my wife and I rejoiced our 57th wedding anniversary. (Applause) Would you like to know how our marriage has lasted so long? It’s that most amazing emotion in the world. Fear. (Laughter) She’s afraid to live alone and I’m afraid of her” (laughter and applause). 

We are not just speaker and audience anymore. We are friends. Get someone laughing and applauding and poof! She’s your buddy now. Then the stories, the metaphors, the jokes and the learning that they will play forward and long remember. 

Wrapping up

“And before I go, I’m going to thank you all for your time, attention and love. And then, I invite you to give me a standing ovation, with whistles and screams, and sing to me, ‘That’s the way, uh huh, uh huh I like it, uh huh uh huh.’ (Laughter) “You see, in a few minutes I’m going to call my wife and she’s going to ask me how my keynote was in London. And I’m going to tell her (acted out on phone) ‘Darling. You won’t believe this. At the end of my talk, everyone gave me a standing ovation and sang to me ‘That’s the way uh huh uh huh I like it a huh a huh a huh.’ I put imaginary phone away, look straight at the joyful grins and add, “And I don’t want to lie to her. So try not to embarrass me. Thank you.” Bingo! How do you think that event ended?

I hope this has stimulated you in performing your next show. If you need some “one on one” guidance you can reach me at www.lennyravich.org. Or maybe you need a funny, motivational keynote speaker for your next event.

Let me know how it’s going for you.    

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